Tag Archives: songwriting

The Grass Ain’t Always Greener

This is the latest from the Brown Road recording studio. I’ve been working on this song the last few days after a conversation Kim and I had recently about how people are always looking for something better, when in reality they have something really great right in front of them.

I’ve always been a “grass is greener” guy.  So yeah, this song is pretty much about me. Probably about a lot of you too. In my case, I’m not talking about the basic measurable things in my life. I’m not talking about my relationships or my material possessions or my lifestyle. I just have this tendency to always be looking for some kind of fictional, transcendental level of satisfaction with my life, no matter how good it is.  And it really is.  I think it’s why a lot of us write or draw or sing or create or do whatever we do to feed that monster that lives inside of us.

So Kim and I were talking about this the other night.  A few nights later I picked up my guitar and I had to write a song about it.  Having now written a few songs, I find it interesting how overwhelmingly obsessing it can be once you have it in your mind to write about a certain subject. I can only imagine what it must be like to be a professional musician with a constant flow of lyrics and melodies swirling through your head.

So here’s The Grass Ain’t Always Greener. The lyrics are below.

The Grass Ain’t Always Greener

Spending your whole life
Trying to find what’s better
Chasing dreams you can barely see on the other side

Looking for a life
Deep with inspiration
Full of schemes that will always seem to build your pride

Building castles in the air
Impractical ambitions
Planting seeds that may never grow to see the light

Keeping track of time
Your clock is always ticking
You just need to always know you’ll be alright

‘Cause the grass may seem much greener when you look at the other side
If you glanced into a mirror, are you trying to run and hide?
There’s so much good around you, it’s just hidden in plain sight
And the grass ain’t always greener, when you get to the other side

Like brush strokes on a canvas
Vivid imagination
Painted dreams of chasing rainbows in your mind

Pacing through your days
Your mind is always racing
Romantic flights of fancy fill your time

Searching down a road
Forks at every juncture
No signs to guide you safely on your ride

Trying to find your way
Transcendent aspirations
If you could only see you’ve found your perfect life

‘Cause the grass may seem much greener when you look at the other side
If you glanced into a mirror, are you trying to run and hide?
There’s so much good around you, it’s just hidden in plain sight
And the grass ain’t always greener, when you get to the other side

Soooo…. is this song about you? Are you a “grass is greener” type of person?

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As Long As You’re With Me v.3.0

Sorry to bombard you with yet another version of this song, but I’ve been fiddling around with some very cool home recording software, recorded the song, added some harmonies and this is what I came up with:

http://tinysong.com/NTTe

It’s not ready for iTunes,  but I think it sounds pretty good.  It’s hosted on a website called Groove Shark so hopefully the link works.

Anyway, thanks for listening!  One of these days I’ll get back to serious blogging.

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This Song’s For You

 I want to write a song.  I have wanted to write a song for years.  I tried writing a song about my Mom when she passed away 8 years ago but I couldn’t find the words.  I want to write a love song for my wife, a song that we can sing together and share for the rest of our lives.  I’d like to write a song about my son, about what a great kid he is and how we are best friends even before being father and son.  Or better yet, I want to write a song for my daughter, a Daddy’s girl song.  I want her to finish growing up and have her own song, written only about her, that she can tell her friends her Dad used to sing to her, that she can sing to herself when she is feeling down, that I can sing to her at her wedding.  She is 13 now and I am running out of time.

I don’t know why songwriting is so difficult.  I can sit here at my keyboard and knock out blog post after blog post about things happening in my life, about humor, about emotions, about happiness and sadness.  I can write about these important people in my life, word after word, line after line, paragraph after paragraph.  I can write about work and play and life and death.  The words emerge easily once I start tapping the keyboard.  Driving home from work a blog post idea will pop into my head and I’ll have it “written” before I even park and get out of the car.  It seems to come naturally and each day I strive to find something interesting to write about, a post better than the day before, a topic that is meaningful to my readers and to my family and especially to myself.

But I haven’t been able to write a song.  I’ve tried… I’ve sat with my guitar and struggled to come up with some basic chord progression and a melody that has some appeal.  I’ve tried to get the lyrics to flow through my head, just like the blog posts do now.  So far it hasn’t clicked.  The inspiration is there but the ability to put it “down on paper” continually eludes me.  Maybe it’s because song lyrics tend to have to be rhythmic and mysterious and vague.  Maybe it’s because I am trying to write the lyrics and the melody at the same time.  Maybe I’m just trying too hard to write that perfect song, to not fail… because the stakes are so high.  It’s like, this is my only shot, this is the song that my daughter will take with her into adulthood, or this is the song that my wife and I will sing to each other as we sit in rocking chairs with gray hair and wrinkled skin and reading glasses perched on our noses.  Damn, that is a lot of pressure!  It has to be right, it’s has to be special, it has to be flawless.

I found this quote from Jackson Browne, my absolute, super-fragilistic, all-time, favorite, hero musician and singer-songwriter.

“Self-discovery in songwriting, bringing something forth that’s instructive to yourself – some of the best songs that you will ever write are the ones where you didn’t have to think about any of that stuff, but nonetheless that’s what’s happening in the song.”

I think what I hear him saying is… don’t try too hard, don’t think too hard about what you are writing, just let the words develop into something magical.  Find the inspiration from the events in your life, the relationships, the experiences, both good and bad, then set them aside and let the lyrics appear on the page.  Maybe it becomes easier with each song that one writes, just as these blog posts have seemingly become easier to write with each passing day.   Maybe I just need to set aside some time, be alone, and try to make it happen. 

You know I’m not one for New Years Resolutions.  Perhaps finally writing a song should be my New Years resolution for 2011.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be from the heart.

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